Monday, September 5, 2016

Other Sources: Four Recent Iowa Compilation Albums

Iowa has a pretty good history of supporting its music. Could obviously be better and could have been better. But we've always had people who were strong supporters of our state's music, and did their best to promote it!

In this regards, Iowa has quite the history of compilations albums, The earliest one I can remember is "The Iowa Compilation Album" from 1987 featuring alternative artists from across the state. I have no doubt that there were earlier ones. (And if you know about them, feel free to write to me about them at iowamusicshowcase@gmail.com!)

So for this article, we look at three recent examples: the brand new recently released Iowa Music Project, plus from 2012, The Iowa City Song Project and Sonic Harvest.


Other IMSC articles and podcasts featuring compilation albums:
http://iowamusicshowcase.blogspot.com/search/label/compilation%20albums


IOWA MUSIC PROJECT


This is an album put together by The Iowa Music Project, "a James Gang endeavor that supports music produced throughout Iowa and increases access to instruments and music education among low-income families in the state". "The Iowa Music Project (IMP) is a 501©3 nonprofit organization that supports live music and musicians in the state of Iowa. IMP is currently running a songwriting showcase to promote new and unique Iowa voices. IMP also has plans to provide free instruments and music education to low-income youth, and is developing a podcast series to highlight music venues and venue owners throughout the state." (from their website)

This release "is the debut album of Iowa Music Project (IMP) and a statewide compilation album inclusive of all genres of music. Featuring 20 different Iowa artists who were given an opportunity to record their original songs at Flat Black Studios in Lone Tree, Iowa, the IMP album offers a small window into the diverse genres of music being made in our state, ranging from folk, hip hop, international, experimental jazz, and more." (from the album's website)

"After fielding more than 200 submissions, curators at the Iowa Music Project have narrowed their list down to 25 finalists (plus two bonus tracks from Halfloves and Middle Western...). The 25 finalists ... (received) one half-day recording session at Flat Black Studios. A selection of these 25 tracks (are also) included in a vinyl pressing released by Maximum Ames Records.

The compilation includes two Listeners’ Choice honorees, Matt Van and Mason Greve & the Pork Tornadoes. Music aficionados across Iowa cast more than 14,000 votes in the poll, which featured hundreds of submissions by Iowa-based artists." (from the Little Village website)



Album website:
http://maximumames.com/product/iowa-music-project-cd/

Digital download with 7 bonus tracks:
https://iowamusicproject.networkforgood.com/projects/13061-imp-general-donation-page

Iowa Music Project's (the organization) home page:
http://iowamusicproject.com/

Iowa Music Project's (the organization) Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/iowamusicproject/

Iowa Public Radio's "Talk of Iowa" on the album:
http://iowapublicradio.org/post/first-listen-help-me-david-zollo-william-elliott-whitmores-new-band-middle-western#stream/

Live sets from album artists from Studio One:
http://iowapublicradio.org/post/hear-studio-one-iowa-music-project-live-sets#stream/


IOWA CITY SONG PROJECT

Maximum Ames Records has done it again.

Perhaps Maximum Ames’s most ambitious LP release to date, the Iowa City Song Project has taken 31 musically disparate tracks and woven them into a single beautiful fabric of Iowa music history.

The Iowa City Song Project was commissioned by the historic Englert Theater, which has hosted American and Iowa legends alike in its 100-year history. Performers on the record include folk legends Greg Brown and Bo Ramsey, who both hail from Iowa City, and twenty-nine other acts ranging from soul to punk-pop to experimental. Mumford’s, the Poison Control Center, Pieta Brown, Christopher the Conquered, William Elliot Whitmore, Brooks Strause, and the Emperor’s Club are some current Iowa staples who recorded a track for the album.

Although simply growing familiar with this album takes time (it’s over 2 hours long with the eleven bonus tracks) and careful listening, it is well worth the effort. For those who have lived in Iowa City, it’s a priceless snapshot of one of the most vibrant cultures in the Midwest commissioned by its foremost performance space. For listeners like me who are less familiar with Iowa City, it’s yet another manifestation of the unusually collaborative and multifaceted Iowa music scene.

Though Iowa City is the record’s common thread, the album isn’t a cheesy, tasteless tribute. In fact, Iowa City isn’t even directly mentioned in some of the songs (although there are some explicit references in a few of the song titles; “Iowa City, Make Love To Me” probably wins). But you know it’s there, watching, a constant in an ever-changing musical landscape that continues to raise and inspire those who live and perform there. Some tracks reflect the quintessential Iowa City experience (“Old Capital City”), while others are delightfully introspective, as though the artist was in the process of unraveling his complex relationship with the city (“Summer Sun”). At times exhilarating, moving, and even bizarre, the Iowa City Song Project seems to contain all the ingredients of artistic life, from disappointment to passion to joy. (from a DMMC {Des Moines Music Coalition] review by Zoey Miller)

I try to collect as much Iowa City music as I possibly can. When I can’t buy a record at a show, I scour Bandcamp pages for the ones I don’t have yet. I spend hours creating and editing mixes of my favorite songs for my friends and family—people who aren’t familiar with the Iowa City music scene, but should be. Everyone should be. That’s my attitude, and apparently the Englert Theatre feels the same way. Instead of dragging songs into an iTunes playlist, the Englert commissioned 31 artists to write songs for a compilation album about Iowa City. The appropriately named Iowa City Song Project features an eclectic track listing of original music by some of the most respected Iowa-rooted talent, including William Elliott Whitmore, Greg Brown, Pieta Brown, The Poison Control Center, Wet Hair, Brooks Strause and many more. (from Steve Crowley's On The Beat column on the Little Village website)

The Englert Theatre, Iowa City’s 100-year-old performing arts venue took it upon itself to craft a sonic tribute celebrating one of the most diverse and culturally vibrant communities in the Midwest. By commissioning 31 musicians and bands and handing them the task of creating songs inspired by experiences or impressions of Iowa City, the result is the sprawling Iowa City Song Project, an all-encompassing artistic reaction to the influential community constantly on the frontline of musical expression. The album strikingly matches the diverse selection of musical tastes that can be found in Iowa City on a day-to-day basis. Perhaps appropriately, a strong selection of grass roots Americana is present here while its oppositions fall more toward the avant-garde side of the spectrum that fit perfectly with the numerous forms of experimentation and forward thinking that springs from a college town. With a CD/LP release consisting of twenty stand-alone tracks in addition to eleven more digitally downloadable tunes, the Englert has successfully managed to turn a potentially daunting task into a seamless assembly of songs that merge into a comprehensive representation worthy of this great city. (from a Kelli Sutterman review on the Hoopla website)

A video about the album...






The album doesn't have a website of its own anymore. Maximum Ames no longer seems to be selling it. But I did find it for sale on a few sites...

Itunes:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/iowa-city-song-project/id569321313

CD Universe:
http://www.cduniverse.com/productinfo.asp?pid=9360829

Microsoft:
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/music/album/various-artists/iowa-city-song-project/8d6kgx79ncv3


IOWA COMPILATION: FOR HENRYVILLE


Found this album just from googling for Iowa compilation albums.

All I could find out about this album is what it says on its BandCamp page. It features bands from the eastern half of Iowa, mostly along the indie, alternative, and folk genres.

It's a charity album to help the victims of a tornado in Henryville, Indiana.



The BandCamp website for the album:
https://iowacompilation.bandcamp.com/


SONIC HARVEST


This albums seems to have vanished off the face of the earth... and the internet! I coundn't even find it on Spotify anymore!

I have asked around at Maximum Ames, but they just said it's out of print and they no longer sell it. And I couldn't get a hold of the Sound Farm studios, who were the ones who put the album together.

So your best bet, if you want it, is to find it secondhand or burn and download it from a friend!

There are a few tracks on some of the artists' BandCamp sites. I've included those below. And I made a YouTube playlists of the songs I could find on YouTube. Though I don't guarantee they are the same version as the album's.

"As great as I think I am at giving focus to Iowa artists, there is no better way to discover new music than to actually listen to them. well the good folks at Sonic Harvest has given you all a chance to do that in one nice neat little package. Featuring 1 track from 30 different bands, all recorded at the now world famous Sound Farm in Jamaica, IA.

"The album features lots of my favorites like Christopher the Conquered, Poison Control Center, Why Make Clocks and Mumford’s to name a few. But luckily for me it features acts I’m not as familiar with like Sean Huston and Pocket Aristotle. So there really is something for everyone." (from the Iowaves website)

"Aside from representing the sounds of 30 Iowa bands, the compilation also represents the work of seven engineers: Ryan Martin, head engineer at Sound Farm, Logan Christian, owner of Midday Studios, Isaac Norman, engineer and owner at Righteous Dog Recording, Phil Young, engineer and owner at Liberty House Studios, Tyler Held, engineer at Sound Farm, R.B. Brummond and Alex Evans.

"Patrick Tape Fleming, guitarist and vocalist of The Poison Control Center, said working on the compilation was a great experience and PCC’s track 'Looking Back' is one of his favorite recordings the band has done. He said the fact that Sound Farm gave artists the opportunity to record for free really shows the connection the studio has to the music community and how passionate they are about promoting it.

“'It’s amazing that they invited all these bands to come that would probably never have the chance to record at that facility. For your everyday average rock-n-roll band, or even for a band like us that has toured a lot and released a bunch of albums, it was a really big deal to record in such a good studio where Grammy-award winning bands have recorded,' Fleming said." (from the DMMC [Des Moines Music Coalition] website)










The album's Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/sonicharvest

The album's Twitter page:
https://twitter.com/sonicharvestia

A Russian site that lets you download it. but I make NO promises on how safe the site is!
http://fr.redmp3.su/album/2214930/sonic-harvest.html

Another site I found the album on, but again, I make NO promises on how safe the site is!
http://wheremusic.ru/album_all/sonic-harvest-9450845

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